Work resumes on Tom Clark’s replica layout in Virginia

  • Cutalong

    Construction work has resumed on Tom Clark’s Cutalong project

  • Cutalong

    The golf course project in Mineral, Virginia, has been in the works for twenty years

  • Cutalong

    Clark completed the first three holes in 2016

  • Cutalong

    The fourteenth is inspired by the Road hole on the Old course at St Andrews

  • Cutalong

    Clark visited Dr Alister MacKenzie’s Gibraltar hole at Moortown

  • Cutalong

    Clarks aims to complete nine holes this year, and the second nine the following year

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction work has resumed on the 18-hole Cutalong course in Mineral, Virginia, designed by Tom Clark of Ault, Clark & Associates – a project that has been in the works for twenty years.

When the project was first conceived in the late 1990s, it was to be 27-holes. Since then, ownership of the development has changed hands four times. “When the second owner took charge, we downsized to an 18-hole facility with a huge practice complex in the central club area close to the original location,” said Clark. “That concept has remained in place for the last 15 years.”

In 2016, Clark completed the first three holes. “Needless to say, they sat there unattended until last summer when we mowed them down and, voila, a golf course appeared underneath,” said Clark.

Utah-based lender Private Capital Group purchased the real estate development project, including the golf course, for US$7.5 million in December 2018. According to a January 2019 update from Commercial Real Estate Exchange, Inc., near-term development potential consists of 417 housing units as well as the completion of the golf course.

“For 17 years I've enlisted Ron Whitten to collaborate with – Ron’s last collaboration was Erin Hills, Wisconsin, site of the 2017 US Open – as my original intention was to create another National Golf Links, similar to the great Charles Blair Macdonald's layout in Southampton. With some of Ron’s input we not only have Macdonald to draw from, but a host of other famous designers and now we even have a Civil War component.

“We also have the mining element as portions of the layout sit on old abandoned mine shafts, ruins, and the original rail line.

“We have incorporated many of the mining features within the design – we are using railroad bunkers, which are railroad ties with crushed granite sand in between. The mine shafts had to be capped and are now drainage basins to keep water from going down and collapsing them as set many are over 300 feet deep. Tee markers will be miniaturised pick axes, hammers, shovels, lanterns, etc. We intend to model some of the buildings based on the old architecture.”

Clark said each hole will have its own design characteristics but will also integrate architectural elements from famous holes and designers. “We have a Biarritz – but on an angle; our Road hole is the ‘railroad hole’; and the Redan, which is the par-four fifth,” said Clark. “I even went as far as to visit Moortown and play and photograph the Gibraltar hole of MacKenzie’s to make it as realistic as possible.”

Clark aims to complete nine holes, two practice holes, driving range, putting green/course, and the short game area for either a soft opening in autumn 2019 or a formal opening in spring 2020.

Construction will continue to spring 2020 when grassing of the remainder of the course begins.